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Transcript of Pelosi Remarks at Press Event on the Capitol Steps on Racist Mass Shooting in Buffalo

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Members of the Congressional Tri-Caucus and other House Democrats on the House East Front Steps of the United States Capitol for a press event on the racist mass shooting in Buffalo.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Mr. Higgins’ statement was one of beauty and unity and kindness and compassion.  When we had the moment of silence on the Floor the other day, he, he stood up and said, ‘We have a moment of silence now.  But tomorrow, our voices will speak out.’

And that is what has been happening this week.  And as we all agree, much more needs to be done.  Right away, on the Floor, we had Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz’s antisemitism – anti-antisemitism resolution.  Yesterday, we had Mr. [Schneider’s] bill to stop domestic terrorism, to stop domestic terrorism. 

And here we are now, on the steps of the Capitol.  We come here when [it’s] of the highest priority.  When you talk, Mr. Higgins, of the victims and give their ages, we know there are many, many more victims.  A little boy whose father was buying a cake birthday cake for him in the store.  Other members of the families of the victims have endless grief.  And while we mourn with them and we pray with them, we must do more.  We must stop the violence.

Part of that is keeping our promise to make sure that we give our children healthy environments in which they can thrive, without being fearful of gun violence.  We have voted over and over again in the House for background checks, for Mr. Clyburn’s legislation – the South Carolina loophole.  We will not rest until the job is done.  And we want the victims of gun violence to know that.

All of this is compounded by the Replacement Theory.  It’s an extremely alarming and despicable idea, and it must be rejected by anyone who claims to embrace our American ideals. 

[Applause]

It’s spread by social media algorithms, where people find people who think the way they do, and the evil way promoted on top television networks.  Yes, it is.  And tragically, as has been mentioned here, by leading political figures.  Why isn’t everyone in this Congress saying: ‘I reject Replacement Theory’?

[Applause]

Our domestic terrorism legislation we passed last night is a strong statement to save lives and protect communities.  Because this is not just an assault on a person, their family; it alters the character of communities in our country, if people have to be so fearful. 

But let me be – let me be clear: the motivation for this is something that must be rejected.  Was there no one?  No neighbor, no family member, no person at a store where this stuff was bought?  Was there no one, in the sense of community of this assailant, that knew something should be called to the attention of law enforcement?

We must all be vigilant until we are all faithful to the ‘E Pluribus Unum’ doctrine.

When we had the January 6th assault on the Capitol, which had the same racist elements to it and replacement theory background to it, I read a poem.  I’m not going to read all of it here.  But I’ll read from it.  It’s called ‘I Have No Other Country’ by Ehud Manor, an Israeli poet.  He said:

‘I have no other country,

Even though my land is burning.

Here is my home I shall not be silent.

For my country has changed her face; I will not give up on her,

I shall remind her,

And sing into her ears,

Until she opens her eyes.’

America, open your eyes to this hateful Replacement Theory that is taking lives and taking a toll on the spirit of democracy in our country.  This country is about freedom.  We respect that.  It’s about safety.  We must have that.  And we will not rest until the job is done.

I thank my colleagues, the Chairs of the Tri-Caucus – the Congressional Black Caucus, the Hispanic Caucus and the Asian Pacific American Caucus – for bringing us together today, under the leadership of our distinguished Whip, House Democratic Whip, Mr. Clyburn. 

And thank you to all of our Members who took the time to be with us.  And now we take the message home with us until the job is done.  Our prayers are with those who lost their lives and their families.  May they rest in peace.  Thank you.

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